Saturday 1st April 2023

Dear Diary,

Just popping in for a chunter while I wait for my hot cross bun dough to prove. It’s pissing down outside so may as well occupy myself indoors. Dick has even abandoned golf in favour of staying dry. He’s putting a ball up and down the hall instead. Shane wouldn’t approve, but he’s away this weekend so what big bear doesn’t know won’t hurt him.

Getting back to baking. I have a bit of a chequered history with HCB’s. The last lot I made were heavy as lead, more like bowling balls than buns to be honest. Even the greedy wood pigeons left them untouched when I chucked some out in the garden. They knew one beak full would render them unable to fly for hours. Leo of course makes divine HCB’s. It pisses me right off. He even makes a perfect cross on top of each one. I can’t be arsed faffing on with the paste cross. I leave mine uncrossed. I like to think of them as hot pagan buns. After all, Christianity hijacked the old religions and imposed their own mark on rituals that had existed for centuries.

I always think of my mum at this time of year. She loved the spring flowers with all their fresh bright colours. Her favourite church services were the Easter ones, like Good Friday with all it’s solemnity and sadness followed by the joy of Easter Sunday. I’ve always had reservations. As a kid, I particularly detested Ash Wednesday, the kick off to Lent and Easter. As I got older and became more attuned to my sexuality I used to try and avoid going to church on AW. I hated the scratchy feel of the ash cross being marked on my forehead by the priest. It felt ugly and threatening. The point of it was to remind us that death comes to all and we should repent and be sorrowful for our sins. As someone struggling with sexuality it felt frightening because, according to the church, gay people are a sin by their very existence. You’re supposed to leave church with the mark still showing, but I used to rub mine off before I stepped outside. I was terrified it would glow red and serve as a target for some avenging marksman, a religion fuelled Clint Eastwood type, on the lookout for aberrations against God and nature. The real aberrations are the savage nut cases that prefer dogma to compassion.

Luckily for you my proving alarm has just gone off, thus halting a rabid tirade against religion. I’m going to poke my dough and see if it’s ready for stage two of the process - adding the dried fruit. God help Dick if he’s been at my measured out fruit, like he did at Christmas when I was making a Dundee cake to give ZZ as a present. Turned my back for a second and he’d scoffed half of it. Wrists were slapped I can tell you. Wish me luck, peeps. Fingers crossed, my dough is gloriously risen and not sulking in the bottom of the bowl like an actor missed out on an Oscar. I’m following a Jamie Oliver recipe this time so if it doesn’t work out, I’m coming for you, Jamie.



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